Recorded as Brailsford, Brellsford, Brelsford, and Brellisford, this is an English surname of medieval origins. It is locational and derives from the village of Brailesford, in the county of Derbyshire. The village name and hence the later surname name is believed to mean the burial place by the shallow river crossing, and was apparently a reference to an ancient burial mound found in the area. The village is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in exactly the same spelling as today, although in 1330 it appears in the pipe rolls of the county as Braylesford. The origination is from the pre 7th century Olde English words 'byrgaels forda', and was possibly a reference to a battle ground, as many such fights took place by fords. Locational surnames by their nature tend to be 'from' names. That is to say names given to people either because they were the lords of the manor or their descendants or because they had left the village, and had moved somewhere else. The first recording of the surname may well be that of Henry de Brailesford in the land charters of Derbyshire in the year 1301, whilst Jeffray Brelsforth was recorded in the Hearth Tax rolls of Sheffield in 1624.
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